CLEVELAND, Tenn. -This time around, Cleveland's Blue Raiders wanted to leave no doubt.
In a game they needed to win to virtually secure a playoff berth, the Raiders piled up 474 yards of total offense and cruised to a 48-14 District 5-AAA victory over Walker Valley. After the game, the players and their fans stood on the field chanting "Leave No Doubt!" in reference to a loss to Rhea County in last season's regular-season finale.
That loss kept Cleveland out of the playoffs for the second straight season with a 5-5 record, but the win Friday was the sixth for the Raiders this season and sets up an opportunity to compete for a district championship next Friday at home against Ooltewah.
"I've been starting since I was a sophomore, and I'm finally going to get a chance to play in the playoffs," said Cleveland senior Parker Smith, who scored the game's first touchdown. "Words can't describe the feeling."
A week earlier, Cleveland successfully ran the ball. Friday night, however, it was all about the passing game. Quarterback Austin Herink finished with 352 yards passing and six scores, and his top four receivers -- Smith, D.J. Jones, Tyler Davis and Eric Goodwin -- all caught touchdown passes.
Jones caught seven passes for 139 yards, while Davis had five for 137. Each scored twice.
The Raiders piled up 339 yards of offense and led 35-14 at halftime, then added touchdowns by Davis and Goodwin in the third quarter.
"Nobody can keep up with us when we're clicking," Davis said. "We have tons of talent on offense, and a lot of teams don't know what to do with us."
Herink also ran for a touchdown.
Walker Valley's Chandler Hunt was the bright spot for the Mustangs, finishing with 113 yards rushing and a score. Colton Morrow scored on a 96-yard kickoff return.
Contact Gene Henley at email@example.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.